The week that was: 4 November, 2011

Rounding up the top stories of the week on Post&Parcel – including the latest USPS rescue attempt, a row over low-cost parcels in Germany, and a major electric delivery vehicle order in France

US Senate reveals bipartisan USPS rescue package

Though it still has a long way to go, the US Senate revealed the best chance yet of passing legislation to rescue the ailing US Postal Service.

Headline measures within the 21st Century Postal Act included a $6.9bn pension surplus rebate to fund incentives to cut 100,000 jobs, a restructuring of staff healthcare prefunding arrangements and reforms to the workers’ compensation system.

USPS would be barred from eliminating Saturday deliveries for two years, but other measures would help with cutbacks, while doorstep deliveries could cease where applicable.

USPS customer groups were generally pleased with the bipartisan nature of the Senate bill and the “balanced” provisions of financial assistance and structural reform. The unions, however, were disappointed at talk of cutting deliveries and adjusting the contract arbitration process.

Hermes low-cost parcel service angers industry group

Hermes Logistics Group Germany launched a new flat-rate parcel delivery service this week, geared specifically to the sending of smaller items.

The new 2-3 day Packchen (Package) service is particularly geared towards the consumer-to-consumer market, based on a flat-rate box for items up to 25kg in weight.

However, its EUR 3.80 to EUR 4.00 pricing angered courier trade group BdKEP, which said low prices in the parcel market were depressing wage levels.

La Poste orders 10,000 electric vehicles from Renault

A government initiative led by La Poste chairman Jean-Paul Bailly has seen the postal service putting in one of the largest ever orders for electric vehicles.

La Poste is among 19 private and public sector organisations that will buy 15,637 Renault Kagoo ZEs and 3,074 Peugeot Ions in order to help push forward the French electric vehicle industry.

The Renault deal is interesting because it cuts the cost of each vehicle to just EUR 15,000 by leaving out the expensive batteries, which will be leased rather than bought by La Poste.

Yodel launches international parcel delivery services

Also this week, UK parcel delivery company Yodel joined the international community with the launch of its own cross-border delivery services.

The company is offering four new services for parcels, including tracked and non-tracked options for smaller packages, an option for larger parcels and a Europe-specific service tailored for e-commerce shippers.

Yodel is working with a number of European partners to provide the new international portfolio, including Belgium’s bpost international, the international parcel unit of TNT Post and UK-based global logistics specialists KMUK.

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